COVID19: New cases still high at 415 in Cyprus, 2 deaths

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Cyprus reported 415 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, two deaths and 165 patients currently admitted in hospitals, as recent relaxations of lockdown measures have backfired and the government is pondering delaying further the lifting of restrictions.

A cabinet meeting earlier in the day to discuss the current situation in controlling the virus was postponed to Friday, doubtful if the government will decide to lift more lockdown measures as of next Tuesday, March 16.

This would have seen the reopening of all bars, cafés and restaurants, extending the night curfew from 9pm to 11pm and allowing all lower high school Gymnasium students to return to their classes.

The two deaths, two women aged 58 and 76, raised the death toll since the pandemic started to 235. December and January were the worst months on record, with 76 deaths each, while 30 people died in February.

However, health officials are concerned about the rising number of admissions, double the rate of discharges.

Wednesday’s total of 165 patients is 11 more than Tuesday, while the critical cases rose from 29 to 30. Cyprus counts 200 beds in Covid wards and unable to cope with the surge in admissions, patients from Limassol have been moved to other hospitals.

At the same time, hospital officials said that the age of patients being treated for COVID-19 is constantly dropping, a worrying outcome as vaccinations are still limited to over 76 year olds.

Wednesday’s 415 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 was five less than Tuesday, and above last Thursday’s 384, having risen from the 100-200 range throughout most of February.

The health ministry said that 34,079 PCR and rapid tests were conducted on Wednesday, with a test positive rate of 1.22%, marginally up from 1.21% the day before.

The total of all infections during the past year has risen to 38,065.

Some 96 new SARS-CoV-2 cases were diagnosed from contact tracing of 639 samples, while 45 other tests were also positive for the virus and 274 new infections were identified through private antigen rapid tests and the free national testing programme.

Limassol continues to account for more than half of all new daily infections in Cyprus, with 169 positive results, followed by Nicosia (39), Larnaca (29), Paphos (10) and Famagusta with 7.

Five more positive results were diagnosed among 2,525 teachers and students, as many schools are visited by mobile testing teams.

Teachers and students must test on a weekly basis, which is optional for elementary school pupils.